Since R.E. Dennard opened his first store in 1890, Dennards Farm & Western Wear's family owners have been outfitting farmers and cowboys in a range of durable stable supplies and western threads. Men's and women's jeans by Cinch and Cruel Girl ($39.95–$59.95) swathe legs in style durable enough for equine adventures or nights on the town. Industrious toes can peruse the selection of footwear, such as men's waxy brown Justin work boots ($89.95), or design a pair of custom cockroach killers with a choice of leathers, patterns, and John Wayne catchphrases. Meanwhile, trusty steeds adorn themselves in an array of tack such as Futurity nylon sheets ($39.95), wooden 3-inch bell stirrups ($49.95), and antique arena show spurs ($34.95), which flaunt a stainless-steel trim to keep heels flashy as they goad show horses and sluggish cab drivers alike.
From the hand-painted signs to the wooden crates and bushel baskets, Star Produce is an old-fashioned farm stand so picture-perfect it could serve as a postcard designed to lure visitors to North Texas. The owners collect fresh fruits and veggies from farmers throughout the area. Though the offerings change depending on the season, customers might stumble upon baskets of juicy grape tomatoes and strawberries and boxes of whole watermelons, yellow squash, and green beans. Occasionally, there are also prepared foods and sweet spreads such as peach butter and honey?also sourced locally after negotiating treaties with local bear populations.
According to the Dallas Morning News, sewing and handwork gave Laura Kay Houser's life "balance"—guiding the stay-at-home mother through life's daily challenges as well as more trying ones, namely her son's illness. In 2006, Houser and two partners turned that restorative hobby into a business venture. Houser now spends most of her days behind the counter, eyes figuratively glued on her latest project.
Inside the colorful shop, shelves overflow with fabrics by brands such as Andover, Benartex, and Marcus Brothers, as well as with books, kits, and experimental needlework patterns inspired by the paintings of Jackson Pollock. Experienced teachers pop in to lead a variety of classes, ranging from sewing basics to workshops with renowned authors and designers. As the culture of quilting has always involved gifting quilts to those in need, the store publicizes volunteer opportunities involving quilting and other crafts.
For nearly 30 years, Future Flight has unfurled its fleet of parachutes to send riders soaring through the open sky aboard lightweight two-person flying machines. Sky captains brief each patron during a preflight inspection and provide a few minutes of on-the-ground instruction on flying powered parachutes to ensure a safe and fun trip. The seasoned aviators then throttle up a rear propeller from the pilot's seat and rumble down the runway until the attached parachute swells with wind and lifts the craft into the air, sending pairs soaring above the Lake Lavon shoreline at altitudes of up to 1,000 feet. For patrons interested in amateur migration, Future Flight also runs training lessons for solo flying in sport-pilot and Far Part 103 Ultralight craft, and sells new and used vehicles and accessories.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.